By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
It rained before, during and after the game but it never threatened to rain goals at St. James' Park on Saturday. A solitary strike from Shola Ameobi in the 81st minute was enough to give Newcastle a vital win against Queens Park Rangers and midfielder Cheick Tiote was pleased to register only a second victory in nine league games.
The midfielder was a driving force in a committed team performance against Harry Redknapp's side, who had not been beaten since the former Tottenham manager took over last month, and was heavily involved with the ball spending most of its time in central areas.
Neither team created much in the way of clear-cut opportunities on a sodden St. James' surface until Ameobi struck what proved to be the winner and lift the Magpies up one place in the Barclays Premier League table.
Unsurprisingly given United's recent form and the visitors' precarious position, there was an air of tension in the stadium and Tiote acknowledged that some of that may have spread to the pitch.
"Everyone was, not nervous but focussed on the game and everyone did their job," he told nufc.co.uk. "That's why we got the three points.
"And the confidence will be higher now, and for the next game against Manchester United that's important.
"I think it was a good performance from everyone today. We knew what we had to do going into the game because of the results in the last two matches.
"This game was an important one because we have two big games against Man United and Arsenal so today it was important to win.
"And that's what we did, so everyone's happy. We played well as a team and we won the game."
One disappointing aspect of the afternoon was a fifth booking of the season for Tiote, which will mean he misses the Boxing Day trip to Old Trafford.
He was cautioned midway through the second half before coming off in the 77th minute suffering from illness.
"It's hard, but that's football," he said of his suspension. "We've got good players in the squad and if I'm not playing then other players will take the chance to prove to the manager that they're good players. Everything is about the team."
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